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Why take a gap year in America?

‘Two roads diverged in a yellow wood – and I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.’  Robert Frost.

 

What is a gap year?

A gap year is an opportunity to reset, a time to do something different, to work, volunteer, to travel aimlessly or to travel with a purpose. They have grown enormously in popularity over the years. During your gap year, you can make a difference, enhance your skill set, earn money – all while having the time of your life in as many countries as one can think of! There is one country that we at USA Summer Camp hold particularly close to our hearts and which is the perfect place for your gap year – the United States of America!

 

Why take a gap year in America?

I’m going to say it; the quote that is included in just about every article written about working in the United States – if you can make it there, you really can make it anywhere! The American Dream is still alive and well and there is nothing better than a gap year in the USA for those looking to improve skills, those looking to network and make connections for the future, for those looking to make a difference, and in truth, those looking for true freedom.

Few countries are more welcoming – the warmest, most hospitable, and kindest people I have ever met have all been American. Few countries have a more varied landscape where one minute you can be in a thriving, melting pot of a metropolis with all of the sights and sounds and culture that some can only dream of experiencing – and then in a few hours, be in a lush and imposing mountain range, or another few hours Westwards, in a desert, and the next day, on a white sand beach!

In addition to the natural phenomena that is on offer across the entirety of the United States, one of the most beneficial aspects of spending time working in such a country is learning the American work ethic. Americans know how to make things happen, they know how to be confident in the workplace, they know that hard work and determination are rewarded, and they know how to have fun while doing it!

It is often said that we learn the most about ourselves by ‘doing.’ I know first-hand, how you may be feeling – whether you are finishing school, or college, or unsure of your path in life, questioning decisions, anxious about the future and unsettled in the present. I have been there. Would you care to know where I got my answers?

 

Benefits of Summer Camp for your gap year in America

Going to summer camp is an American tradition that is almost as old as the Declaration of Independence – or at least it is that ingrained in the American psyche! Each year, children bundle off to camp, wave goodbye to their parents for 8 weeks, full of excitement and the knowledge that they are promised another summer of a lifetime.

Any kid that goes to summer camp lives ‘ten for two.’ Their ten months of regular life are ticked off by the day until they can again spend their summer under the sun, amongst their favourite people, enjoying everything that only an American summer camp can offer. It is not just children, however, that reap the benefits of summer camp. Year on year, camp counselors flock to the US to experience a summer at camp – and for good reason! Going to summer camp changed my life and so I have compiled a list of the main benefits of a summer (or several summers) of working at an American summer camp during your gap year.

 

1.  Incredibly well supported way to travel!

The prospect of travelling alone – as some choose to undertake a gap year – or even as part of a group, is rather daunting for most people! If you are finishing school, or university, or looking to take a year out from working – but don’t know where or even how to begin, then summer camp could be the perfect launch pad for you!

A summer at camp is an incredibly well supported way to travel during a gap year in the US. From the minutes you sign up to an agency such as us here at USA Summer Camp, you are taken care of. USA Summer Camp will hold your hand all the way up to you coming home from camp! We are there to help you with your application, to find you your perfect summer camp, to assist you with the visa process, flight bookings, and all the in-between. Your health insurance is covered, your food and accommodation while at camp are covered, and you are guaranteed one of the highest salaries in the camp industry once you sign up with USA Summer Camp!

When I arrived at camp, I told my camp director that I felt as though I found my second home – and we want the same for you! The support does not end once you board the plane to the US. You will arrive at camp and be welcomed into the biggest, craziest, most loving second family you could ever imagine!!

 

2.  A way to save money!

As I mentioned above, your food and accommodation are covered while you are at camp – and camp food is some of the best of American cuisine! Think weekly barbecues under the sun, s’mores around the crackling campfire, and more ice cream than one can dream of – and it’s all covered! Essentially you do not have to spend any money while you are at camp – except for days off which can be budgeted super easily. Not having to buy groceries or even think about what to cook for breakfast, lunch and dinner really was such a break from the real world!

Also, you do not have to pay for your accommodation which is a major bonus now and means that you will have even more savings for travelling after camp! Over 8 weeks of free food and accommodation, with very few expenses, and a big pay cheque at the end – what more could you ask for!!

 

3.  Learning new skills and hobbies!

Whenever anyone asks me to describe what it is to be a counselor, I always tell them that you are just a grown-up camper. A summer at camp will quite honestly, enhance every skill you have. Whatever your hobbies and interests are, I promise there is a camp in the US to suit you perfectly. USA Summer Camp works with over 700 camps across the US – from traditional sleepaway camps to day camps, girls scout camps, the list goes on!

I have never had a job where one minute I was paddle boarding, the next I was 3D printing and making robots, and then painting in the art shack and on to coaching basketball, and a private tennis lesson, with a sunbathing session under the bluest of blue skies in between! The activities on offer at American summer camps, as well as the facilities are improving summer after summer. It’s not just for the kids either – the best way to be a counselor is to throw yourself into every activity – whether it’s swimming or rock climbing or a workout in the gym!

Again, all these activities are free at camp and actually… you are getting PAID to do these activities which in the real world are not that cheap! We help hundreds of applicants every year to enjoy these activities under the sun – and you could be the next!

 

4.  Make friends from all over the world!

Camps attract counselors from all over the world, and international counselors are highly sought after! I worked with counselors from Australia, South Africa, Ireland, Spain, Mexico, New Zealand, and the US also! The best part of working at camp during your American gap year is being able to open the door of your bunk and know that every person you speak to that day is there for the same reason you are – to have the most amazing summer ever! Spending time with such like-minded individuals makes it insanely easy to make friends, and it’s true that camp friends are the best friends!

Making connections with people from different parts of the globe means that once camp finishes (and unfortunately it does have to) you will know someone in just about every country you could think of! That is such a positive for when you continue your travels. Not only will you have friends all over the world, but you also could meet lifelong friends with whom you can travel with for a time, or for your entire year!

 

5.  An amazing addition for your CV!

Employers now view gap years as hugely advantageous! Whereas once, those climbing corporate ladders would have been unable to take time to further other aspects of themselves, now we are encouraged to do so! Employers love to see varied skills, life experience, adaptability, and hard work on any CV, and where better to gain such skills than at summer camp!

Counselors come away from a summer at camp with invaluable experience. Organisation, communication, conflict resolution (only occasionally and usually it’s over ice pops), mediation, public speaking, teamwork, resilience – you name the skill and camp will enhance it. By the end of a summer at camp, you will be transformed in the best possible way! There is no better place to learn more about yourself and others, to grow and learn and love.

 

Go on.  Do it.

If you’re thinking about taking a gap year, then working at an American summer camp could be the perfect option for you! We at USA Summer Camp work with over 700 camps all across the US and know that we will find you your ‘home away from home.’ We have all worked at camp and have experienced its benefits first hand! While taking a gap year in America might be ‘the road less travelled by,’ we promise that it will make the most amazing difference!!

Kiara Davey
Kiara Davey
Blogger, Summer Camp Fan
Call now +44 (0)121 411 9165

6 Emotions You’ll Feel on your First 4th of July

Here are 6 emotions you’ll feel on your first 4th of July!

It’s your first 4th of July in America and every American’s favourite day. It’s time to celebrate the land of the free and the home of the brave and boy are you in for a treat. Red, white and blue are everywhere and you feel like you are in a fresh tube of Colgate toothpaste. You never thought you’d feel so patriotic for a country you’re not from but here you are belting out the National Anthem like you didn’t just learn the words two weeks ago.

Independence Day is not just a film about Aliens on the 4th of July

 

1. Confusion

confusion about 4th of july

There is none stop chanting of “USA, USA, USA!”. Everyone is in red, white and blue. There are stars and stripes literately everywhere. You didn’t realise how patriotic everyone is until today. Everyone is running around waving flags and singing Katy Perry. Independence Day isn’t just a film about aliens? What?! You thought that the bonfire firework display at your local park was a show. Think again. This display is something to rival Londons New Years Eve show. Who knew independence meant bottomless chicken wings? Sign us up!

 

2. Food Coma

food coma from 4th of july

There is food EVERYWHERE. You’ve gotten accustomed to the food at camp by now including the mad portion sizes. However, you were not prepared for today! You never knew it was possible to arrange burgers and hotdogs into an American flag display but here we are. There are snacks on snacks on snacks and you are ready. The food coma is coming and you welcome it in waves.

 

3. Fear

fear of 4th of july

There is a lake with your name on it and you have the fear, bad. You’ve been hiding out all day trying to avoid getting thrown into the lake but tradition is tradition. The feeling of knowing that it is coming is the worst and you’re contemplating just throwing yourself in.

 

4. Patriotic

patriotic for 4th of july

You might not be American but today you are an honorary citizen. Everyone else’s buzz for the country has got you swept up in the celebrations and your singing Star Bangled Banner with the rest of them. Today, this land is your land and today this land is my land. Go America!

 

5. Excited

excited

All your campers have got you absolutely fizzing with excitement. There are fun, games and food everywhere. The only holiday you have to compare is Christmas and this is the Christmas of summer. You’re ready to fly the flag and fly the flag HARD. Why can’t every day be the 4th of July?

 

6. Tired

sleepy

It’s been a long old day and you are ready for bed. The whole day has been non-stop and although it’s been enjoyable you are worn out. Who knew Independence was so exhausting?! It’s time to kick your feet up, make a cup of tea and go back to business as usual tomorrow. You’re retiring the red, white and blue for Color War. Until next time Independence Day!

 

Not Sure What To Do After Camp?

There are 52 states in America, spanning 3.8 square miles. Each state has its own individual charm as well as being packed full of a multitude of different Cities, Towns and new experiences. Deciding where you are going to go and what to see after camp can get overwhelming. For example, planning your travel after camp can end up leaving you with option overload.

 

Why You Should Travel With Contiki After Camp

We have recently partnered up with Contiki to bring you a selection of amazing trips and tours all across America. Take the pressure off and spend your summer enjoying your travels. Make every moment count and experience your dream trip your way. For instance, Contiki allows you to add exciting options into your trip in addition to your included experiences. With an expert Trip Manager leading your way, you’re in safe hands. Here’s why you should travel with Contiki after camp!

 

One Great Package

When you have selected your amazing trip all you now need to do is pay and go. Yes, it’s that simple! All your travel for the trip, accommodation and experiences are rolled into one great package. Dependent on your trip, you’ll even find some of your meals included too.  Exploring America and sourcing your own travel and accommodation can become quite costly. In addition, researching exactly where you want to go and booking onto these experiences can make the pennies stack up pretty quickly. Trying to get all this sorted while at camp can leave you with booking exhaustion. A reason why you should book with Contiki is that this is all sorted for you. What more could you need?

 

Make Friends Along The Way

Much like Camp, a trip with Contiki will see you making friends for life. You might find yourself left with nobody wanting to go where you would like to travel after camp. Similarly, there might only be two of you who want to travel to a certain place. With Contiki, you’ll have the safety and the comradery of being part of a group. Furthermore, the age of Contiki travellers ranges from 18 to 35 meaning you’ll be surrounded by people your own age. As well as the average age of Contiki travellers being 26, 55% are solo travellers. So, don’t be worried if you’re heading out on your own!

 

Unique Experiences

Prepare for your Bucket List to be looking pretty empty after a Contiki Trip! All of the must-see and do places will be included in your itinerary as well as some unique hidden spots. With tours including hot-spot locations such as Yosemite National Park and Route 66, you’ll have the opportunity to see Americas best locations. Your experience, your way. From LA to Canada, wherever you go after camp is up to you. Contiki is perfect for making the most out of your travel.

 

If you’re looking to explore more this summer, check out the amazing trips offered by Contiki! Save 10% on all full-price trips* and make the most of your travels!

Save 10% With Code PPUSASUMMERCAMP10

*Applicable on trips 7 days or more. Discounts apply to the land portion of your trip price only. Combinable with loyalty discount only. Discounts are subject to change.  £60 deposit, freedom guarantee, hold tours on option for up to 7 days, balance due to Contiki 45 days before departure.

 

The Best Way to Travel Around America?

You get 30 days of travel after America and the freedom to go where ever you, but you have one problem. How are you going to get around? With 52 States and a lot of miles in between, getting from a to b can present a few challenges. Worry not as there are plenty of travel options that can help get take you from camp to wherever you want to be! Moreover, there are also great travel packages from our amazing partners over at Contiki and TrekAmerica. They can sort out your travelling needs as well as your accommodation. Score!

 

Megabus

You might already be familiar with Megabus, particularly if you are a seasoned traveller. With low-cost bus tickets to over 100 cities, it’s worth checking to see if Megabus can get you where you need. Either way, a quick look at the tickets could enlighten you to explore somewhere new for a low-cost price! Some tickets can start as low as $1! In all, the best way to travel around America is sometimes the cheapest and with Megabus, you get just that.

travel easier with megabus

Metro

It’s worth checking whether the city you are in has a metro system. Similar to the tube, the metro can get you around the city very quickly which is often the best way to get around America! New York City is well known for its Subway and there are a handful of other cities that also have similar transportation systems. There are also handy apps as well as Google Maps that can guide you on which line to get for when you are navigating yourself around.

subway new york travelling

 

Greyhound

With low fares and a selection of direct routes, Greyhound can help you with your travel around America. There are hundreds of direct routes meaning you get exactly where you need to go. A bus ride across America will take a fair few hours but with free Wi-Fi and individual power outlets on every bus, a few Netflix episodes will help pass the time! Be inspired to explore more places and save money while you do it!

catch the greyhound bus to travel after camp

 

Get Lifts off America Friends

At Summer Camp, you’re bound to make friends for life. Some of these friends will even have cars! It’s worth checking to see if they are travelling after camp and whether you can hitch a ride with them. A road trip with friends is one of the best ways to explore America. If you need more info on planning a summer camp road trip, we have a handy blog post to help you out.

road trip with friends after camp

 

TrekAmerica

We are lucky to be partnered with great travel brands that can help you explore more. In addition, they can help with how to travel America while making more of your budget. TrekAmerica offers more than 50 unique trips. With a pre-planned trip, you’ll be with an experienced tour guide who can show you the best of what America has to offer. Also, with TrekAmerica your travel and accommodation are included, rolling your trip into one convenient package! Find out more about travelling with TrekAmerica here.

trek america travels

 

Contiki

Another great brand we have partnered with is Contiki. Each trip is packed full of must-do experiences as well as your transport being covered door to door. An expert Trip Manager guides your trip from start to finish, allowing you to explore the best America has to offer.  With the option to include add-ons with your trip, it’s your travel your way. Make the most of America’s National parks or perhaps see the Golden Gate Bridge. With Contiki, there’s so much to explore. Find out more here.

travel with contiki across america

 

Angeliqua Goodwin
Angeliqua Goodwin
Angeliqua is the Creative Designer at USA Summer Camp as well as a travel addict!